Council Tax arrears

If you fall behind with your Council Tax payments and we have your email and/or your telephone details, you will receive an automated voicemail, text and email to advise that payment is overdue. If this balance is not paid, you will receive a paper reminder within a week.

Only two paper reminders are sent out in the financial year. If you fail to pay on a third reminder, the right to pay by instalments is removed and the whole year’s charge will become due immediately, this is called a final notice stage.

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax you can telephone the Council Tax department on 0345 302 2317 to discuss the matter. You may also request a payment arrangement. You will need to sign in or register for a Council Tax online account to request a payment arrangement.

If you fail to pay this balance, a summons will be issued at the Bexley Magistrates Court. The purpose of the hearing is to obtain a liability order to secure your debt. A liability order is a legal order which allows the Council to enforce the debt through different methods:

  • deductions to your earnings
  • deductions to your benefits
  • using an Enforcement Agent
  • bankruptcy proceedings
  • charging order proceedings

Struggling to pay/Court Summons received?

It is your legal right to attend the Court hearing, you do not have to attend if you want to set up a payment arrangement.

We will still secure the debt with a liability order, including court costs, as long as the arrangement is accepted and you maintain the payments as agreed, no further action will happen.

Council Tax Discretionary Relief – Section 13(A)

Under Section 13(A) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (as inserted by Section 76 of the Local Government Act 2003), the Council has the power to reduce liability for Council Tax, irrespective of other discounts and exemptions, the Council will only use its powers to reduce Council Tax liability for a resident in exceptional circumstances. All applications will be considered on their individual merits.

Claiming Discretionary Relief

Requests for reductions in Council Tax liability must be made in writing by the taxpayer (or their advocate/appointee or a recognised third party on their behalf) and sent to the Council Tax Department. The application should relate to the current Council Tax year unless the liable person has just received an account following a late valuation for a previous year(s). The Council may request any reasonable evidence in support of an application.

Review of decision

Any decision to award discretionary relief may be time-limited or subject to further periodic assessment. Under the Local Government Finance Act 1992, there is no right of appeal against the Council's use of discretionary relief, however, the Council will accept a customer's written request for a further review of its decision. The Council will then consider whether the customer has provided any additional information which will justify a change to the decision.

Council Tax Reduction disputes

If you believe you are not receiving the correct amount of Council Tax Reduction (formerly Council Tax Benefit), complete a general enquiry form.

Notify a change in your circumstances or make a general enquiry

The court hearing will continue and a payment arrangement will be requested. Once the liability order is obtained on the arrears and you have maintained your payments as agreed, the matter will not proceed with any further recovery action.

PDF Booklet


The Council Tax Budget information can be viewed in our PDF booklet - Council Tax 2020 to 2021 and the explanatory notes at Council Tax demand notice explanatory notes.